Wednesday, 22 September 2010

5 things I love about Baptists

I was challenged with tongue firmly in cheek by a local Baptist minister why my series had yet to include them. With much hilarity and banter it was agreed that I would "do my best" to see if I could come up with something.

I do think that Baptism matters. In that sense I am a baptist. Were I looking at labelling myself correctly I don't think I would be all that comfortable with the term "reformed charismatic" because of some of the implications of it. I would be more comfortable to be known as a "Charismatic baptist", because that is probably closer to my experiences, friendships and aspirations. In a culture where infant baptism has through many generations caused complete confusion I think that Baptists have got a whopping thing right.

Go anywhere in the world and look for the missionaries. Almost always there will be some Americans, and they will be Baptists. And these days, maybe some pentecostal Koreans will be working alongside them. William Carey and (in some way) the Baptist Mission Society forged a way countless thousands have followed.

Looking through a list of eminent Baptists is a bit like looking through a "Who is who" of evangelical heroes of the faith. Spurgeon alone would this point valid, as would William Carey. Chuck in Billy Graham and you've nailed preaching, evangelism and missions in just three men of God. Looking around people like Oswald Chambers, and several eminent US politicians all feature. These days Piper and MacArthur stand at the top table of people worth reading and listening to.


In some denominations I see a bit of confusion. What is preached as "Gospel" changes church to church, minister to minister. Some of what is presented as Gospel really does not bear much resemblance to the "good news" as I know it. I know if you move to a place and you find a Baptist Church, along with all sorts of quirks and differences that any Church has you will certainly hear the gospel.


Of all the denominations I think the Baptists have done pretty well at holding firm to what they believe and not moving ground with the pervading mood of culture. I look at some churches and what you now see now is so utterly different from what it was, and yet what a Baptist is compared to what a Baptist was does not seem a dramatic journey. "Traditional Baptist" can have a whole load of negative connotations and yet I imagine some of those Churches will remain active in generations to come where newer models and movements have disappeared altogether.

All in all, being a British non conformist I was always going to identify strongly to the Bapstist Church, which is a bit odd really as I have never been a part of one.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic post Dave- whoever inspired that deserves a medal

Seriously, you did better than I may have done I have enjoyed this series
Thank you


Admiralcreedy said...

as a (Grace/Strict) Baptist by birth and now understanding (though I am a FIEC/New Frontiers person if I am away), I really appreciated reading this. Love the reference to Oswald Chambers.

'My Utmost for His Highest' is phenomenal

dave bish said...

Andrew Fuller and William Carey are baptist legends. And there was that Spurgeon bloke...

Happy to be a baptist amongst other labels!

Jongudmund said...

Barnabas was born from a Baptist Church so I guess as a church its second generation Baptist.

There was certainly a lot of Baptist theology knocking around when we were growing up there (baptism obviously, communion theology, church structure - having elders, the three point sermon).

More baptist than you know.

Pauline said...

I don't know if a comment from an Anglican adds anything- but, after years of being a "seeker" who went to church but hadn't quite grasped it, then a brief time of falling away and behaving badly, I had a real "seeing the light" experience. I then got baptised by full immersion at the local Pentecostal church. Some of my fellow Anglicans were a bit annoyed and talked of having no need to get "dunked" as one critic put it!!(And they pointed to what they believe is scriptural evidence that suggests infant Baptism followed by Confirmation,taking on the Baptismal vows for oneself, as being just as valid) But, interestingly enough, the charismatics amongst us did feel the need to be baptized by immersion. In one case, a local Anglican charismatic vicar hired the local swimming pool for a baptism service!!!!
Keep this seried going- it's really good!